Mark Lawrenson has offered his take on Mike Ashley’s position at Newcastle United, asking fans to remember that he is actually a ‘very good businessman’ and a Tottenham fan (not a Newcastle one), suggesting this is why he will do what he likes as ‘it’s his money’.
The former match of the day pundit makes some attempt to sound impartial here, but he really doesn’t do a very good job of it.
Yes Ashley’s a businessman and the one man whose expected to pump his money into the club, but this can’t excuse some of the decisions he’s made over the years.
Here’s what the BBC pundit has had to say about the NUFC owner when asked about fans’ frustrations towards the Sports Direct tycoon and his potential exit from the club:
“I think you have to remember that Mike Ashley is just a businessman. He’s not a Newcastle fan, I think he’s a Tottenham fan in all honesty and even then I’m not quite sure if he is a Tottenham fan, I think he probably just likes Tottenham but I don’t think he’s one that would go every week.
“He wants to sell the business, I don’t think he needs to sell the business, I know he’s a very good businessman and I would just suggest that the so-called takeover wasn’t offering him as much money as he thought it was worth and the problem with that is that he’s got to get it absolutely right.
“Obviously we know they got relegated, they spent a year in the Championship and it’s horrible in that league. If you think about it, take 25 or 30 per cent of what you think the club’s worth because they’re playing in the Championship.
“He’ll just stick to his guns, but he’s not really that interested. He bought the club, he spent money on the club. Obviously the fans think he should spend even more but hey, it’s his money and he makes those decisions and that’s the thing, if one man owns your football club, like him or loathe him, he makes all the decisions.”
What gets me here is there’s more defending of Mike Ashley here than there is attacking him for what a shoddy job he’s done over the years. This is a footballing man talking here as well in Mark Lawrenson, yet another piece that almost has the audacity to suggest we expect too much of him.
One thing I’d also argue from Lawro’s comments. Is he all that good of a businessman? He takes barmy risks. This is a man who didn’t spend money in January, meaning he was fully prepared to risk our Premier League status and, with that, the valuation of his asset, Newcastle United.
The club would be worth half of his alleged £300m asking price if we went down, yet he wasn’t prepared to give Rafa a penny last month.
Newcastle aside, he may be a good businessman, but a good businessman doesn’t make a good owner.